In the summer of 2015, I was one of seven students at the University of Cincinnati chosen to spend 22 days in the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska to produce, shoot, and edit a 7 day adventure racing documentary.
Along with a team of video professionals and college professors, our team endured the intimidating conditions of the Alaskan wilderness in order to film the world’s top adventure racers compete across hundreds of miles. The racing teams completed dozens of tasks throughout the race including kayaking, bushwhacking, river crossings, and glacier rescues in efforts to win a World Series Adventure Race at the top of the world. We filmed racers nonstop over the course of seven days across a variety of different terrains including glaciers, rivers, beaches, forests, and mountains. Amidst our production, we’d set up tents in various locations across the race route to create makeshift workstations to dump incoming footage and cut dailies while swapping shifts of staying in to edit and going out to shoot video.
After working on location, my fellow students and I took the footage back to the university to spend the following year editing it into a documentary series. After premiering in April of 2016, Expedition Alaska has been featured in many film festivals including winning Best Student Production at the Morocco Adventure Film Festival.
In 2015, I competed in the College-Conservatory of Music’s 48 Hour International Film Festival. In the span of 48 hours, our team of strangers met for the first time, wrote a script, planned a shoot, shot, edited, scored, and completed the short film SUNDAY. The film went on to win awards for Best Picture, Best Editing, Best Cinematography, and Best Leading Actress. I was the editor, cinematographer, and assistant director of the piece.
I loved this project for so many reasons, but more than anything I loved who I got to work with. A filmmaker from Kenya, E.M. (Eric) Mwangi, was the director I was paired with and his passion for movies was infectious. Along with Eric, I met the producer of our short Alison Sluiter. Alison graduated from CCM with a BFA in Acting in 2016, and she was the producer for SUNDAY. The three of us turned out to be pretty formidable and created what I think is an awesome short film over the course of a couple sleepless nights. Alison’s acting chops as well as leading lady Annie Grove made the shooting easy, and a custom score from CCM composer Sam Beiting written on the last day of the competition was an amazing final piece to our short. I couldn’t be prouder of what all of us created, and I’ve had the joy of working with a lot of my colleagues from SUNDAY on other projects since.